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The effects of gender attitudes towards interracial marriages Guess Who is Coming to Dinner - Research Paper Example

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The effects of gender attitudes towards interracial marriages Guess Who is Coming to Dinner

And yet, the interracial relationships still remain a difficult terrain for some – particularly when this relationship is set against a backdrop of prejudices and biases that are difficult to budge. Whilst many things have been written about interracial relationships, both from a scholarly and academic perspective and from more mainstream media, an underexplored topic is how different genders perceive interracial relationships, and the degree of the difference. Are women more supportive of interracial relationships than men? Or is it the other way around? What accounts for the discrepancy? It is in this light that this paper discusses the film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, which came out in 1967, at a time when interracial relationships were still considered taboo and in most states, even illegal. The movie was considered revolutionary for depicting interracial relationships in a positive light. It centers on a young couple, Joey, the female being white (played by Katharine Houghton) and John, the male being black (played by Sidney Poitier), who have to deal with the disapproval of their respective families on their relationship. The plot of the film revolves around the character of Houghton taking home her chosen man for dinner and arranging that he meets her parents. The New York Times, reviewing the film, had written: "the suspicion arises that were the film made today its makers would come to grips a good deal more bluntly with the problems of intermarriage. Still, this remains a deft comedy and - most of all - a paean to the power of love." It is also interesting to note the differing perspectives of the man and the woman in the film with regard to the reactions of their family. Joey is determined to continue with the relationship no matter what, and is deadest to marry John, whom she loves. John on the other hand finds it more important to gain the approval of both families first – even his own family is adamantly against the relationship – before they can get married. This illustrates a gender difference that this paper proposes to speak of: it is clear here that the male has more regard for social attitudes than his bride, and the female puts a greater premium on the relationship and will fight for it against all odds, despite public opposition. Indeed, there are gender differences in how interracial relationships are perceived. We now touch upon two scholarly articles that deal with the issue. The first one is entitled “Sociodemographic differentials in mate selection preferences” (1991: 928) written by Scott South and published in 1991. This paper draws upon the “Exchange Theory” which “stresses the resources that individuals are able to trade in order to maximize their rewards” (p. 929). The methodology of this research was surveys with over 2000 respondents in the National Survey of Families and Households. In relation to the topic at hand, the most crucial part of the paper’s discussion is as follows – Within the race/ethnic categories, men are consistently more willing than women to marry exogamously. The greater willingness of black and Hispanic males in comparison to their female counterparts to out-marry is consistent with the higher rates of exogamy for these men (Schoen and Wooldredge, 1989; Schoen, Wooldredge, ...Show more
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Summary

Gender and Interracial Relationships: An Examination of the Movie “Guess Whos Coming to Dinner?” The issue of interracial relationships remain to be a sensitive issue, despite many inroads that have already been taken in terms of ending racial discrimination…
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